Apple Cream Cheese Bundt Cake.

Just the name of this recipe sounds like Fall, huh? It tastes like Fall too! For the most part, I am a resistor. And by resistor, I mean that I dig my heels and stomp my feet right around the middle of September, as the days get shorter, the temperature drops, and the house suddenly needs a little shot from the heater. Don’t get me wrong, I am SO grateful for the Indian Summer that WA usually gets, but I still cringe a little every time I hear someone say, “Man, it feels like Fall.”

However, last week I got an email from my sister Jenn in the middle of the afternoon (while she was at work), asking “Can we please make this?” (She IS pregnant though, so don’t blame her for the food-related obsession in the middle of the day.) “This” was the Apple-Cream Cheese Bundt Cake from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures. Asked to come up with a contribution for Baked by Rachel’s apple celebration, Tracey came up with something spot on for Fall, as this cake is the PERFECT combination of sweet and cake, fruit and cream cheese. Not to mention that it looks beautiful once the frosting is drizzled over the top. The only downfall is that you have to wait 2 hours after baking before you are “supposed” to eat it. Trust me when I say that after smelling this for the 60 minutes it takes to bake, you will not want to wait any longer to try it. Do it though…I promise it is worth it. And maybe, if you are anything like me, this cake will make you welcome Fall a little bit more.

My sister and I don’t love pecans, so I omitted them, but if you ARE a pecan-lover, check out Tracey’s original recipe.

Apple Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

{Ingredients}

Cream Cheese Filling:
1 (8-oz) package cream cheese, softened                                                                                                                                                     1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cake:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups peeled and finely chopped Gala apples (about 2-3 medium apples)

Praline Frosting:
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners’ sugar

{Directions}

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 12 or 14 cup bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray with flour (the cake will fit in a 12-cup bundt, but just barely). GREASE AND FLOUR WELL. You want that bundt cake to slide right out when cooling!

To make the filling: Add the cream cheese, butter and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (I used a handheld mixer and it worked fine.) Beat on medium speed until well combined and smooth. Add the egg, flour and vanilla an d continue beating just until incorporated. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, both sugars, the cinnamon, salt, baking soda, nutmeg and allspice together. Add the eggs, oil, applesauce and vanilla and mix just until combined. You will need to switch to a rubber spatula. Fold in the chopped apples until distributed throughout the batter.

Spoon about 1/2 to 2/3 of the cake batter into the prepared pan. Top evenly with the cream cheese filling, leaving about a 1-inch border around the edge of the pan (This is kind of tough, just do the best you can). Use a thin paring knife to swirl the cream cheese filling with the cake batter just a few times – less is more here. You can try and control where the cream cheese goes to keep it away from the edges. Top the filling with the remaining cake batter, using a spatula to spread it around evenly.

Bake for 60-75 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool for 15 minutes, then invert the cake onto the rack and allow to cool completely (at least 2 hours – don’t cheat!).

To make the frosting: Combine the brown sugar, butter and milk in a saucepan. Set over medium heat, and bring to a boil, whisking almost constantly. Boil for 1 minute, whisking constantly. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Whisk in the confectioners’ sugar, a little at a time, until it is completely incorporated and the frosting is smooth. (My sister and I did this together- if you have an extra pair of hands, it helps!) Gently stir the frosting until it starts to thicken, then pour it over the cooled cake. (The frosting will set up quickly, so don’t make it in advance – wait until the cake has cooled completely. And it’s worth waiting- this was one of my favorite parts!)

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